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8(a) firms have a choice in mentor-protege programs

By Alice Lipowicz, editor, Set-Aside Alert

      Small businesses certified as 8(a) Business Development Program participants by the Small Business Administration now have a greater choice of mentor-protege programs.

      The 8(a) companies can choose from either the SBA’s longstanding 8(a) Mentor Protege Program or its newer All Small Mentor-Protege Program, John W. Klein, associate general counsel for procurement law at the SBA, confirmed to Set-Aside Alert in an email.

      And while having more options could be beneficial, it also may be creating challenges.

8(a) Mentor-Protege Program

      For many years, the SBA offered only one mentoring program, which was exclusively for 8(a)s. The SBA’s 8(a) mentoring program was designed to give those disadvantaged firms a leg up in forming partnerships with larger companies.

      The 8(a) mentor-protege program was the most robust among civilian agencies. SBA officials have said in recent months that about 400 to 450 mentor-protege agreements are in effect in the 8(a) Mentor-Protege Program.

All Small Mentor-Protege

      In the defense authorization bill of 2013, Congress granted authority for, but did not order, the creation of a governmentwide mentor-protege program open to all small businesses.

      The SBA launched the All Small Mentor Protege Program in October 2016. It has been very popular, .... more ...

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